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March 28, 2020

Research needed to manage summer water shortage in rural areas

Due to warmer temperatures in the summer, droughts and depleting water supply will likely become more common in Myanmar. The water crisis in rural areas every summer highlights the need for better urban planning and management.
Last year, the number of villages facing a water shortage rose from the expected number to reach nearly 400 nationwide.
When it comes to curbing water shortage in rural areas, urban planners and engineers need to learn from changing rainfall patterns and take future demand into account to build more resilient infrastructure.
The main reasons why rural residents experience water shortage every year should be considered when making short-term, middle-term, and long-term plans to resolve the issue. To quench the thirst of people in the summer, all hands — from the government, partner organizations, local and foreign donors, regional authorities, and people — need to be on deck.
Climate change will surely make the problem of water shortage worse. A number of countries are facing a hotter, drier future. It is certain that our people will face similar challenges in the coming summer. Our preparations should be based on better research about water supply technology, depending on its suitability for each area.
Besides, we need to carry out a survey on water supply in rural areas, including current consumption and operation of the water supply network.
The Rural Area Development Department has adopted a strategy and investment plan and has been implementing it to improve water supply, sanitation, and personal hygiene in rural areas.
The department has built more than 9,570 water supply facilities so far for about 8,064 villages with a population of 5.26 million.
The department plans to build another 1,720 facilities in this fiscal year, which started on 1st October, for nearly 1,700 villages with a total population of 1.3 million.
With better monitoring and evaluation, the water supply system must be expanded nationwide and existing water supply facilities must be maintained to meet the tenets of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Myanmar Sustainable Plan by 2030.
Myanmar has abundant water resources. It accounts for 16 per cent of the total water resources of ten ASEAN nations, and 12 per cent in all of Asia. However, diversity in rainfall, increase in population and population density, rise of industrial and economic zones, and other changes to social systems mean there would be a rapid increase in the demand for water and there will be new challenges in providing adequate water to everyone.
A water crisis is not merely a problem concerning people in rural areas, but may very well affect anyone in their lifetime.
It seems reasonable to encourage all people to get more involved in preventing a crisis through efficient use of water and water facilities.

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